The release of Kanye West’s music video for “Power” has sparked an explosion of interest over the last few weeks regarding the visual imagery and symbology contained within it. The 90 second video has been the subject to close analysis by fans and non-fans interested in revealing the hidden message behind the video.
This article is my personal interpretation of the music video. I am not claiming it is entirely factual, I am only sharing my opinion from my own perspective.
One thing we can all agree on is the way that Kanye is presented in the video, he is shown as being in a powerful, ruling position like a king. I believe Kanye is trying to be seen as King Tutankhamun, an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty. There is good reason to believe this, but it will be explained further on.
There are two parallel rows of pillars on either side of Kanye. These pillars are very similar to the Masonic pillars. Anyone with basic knowledge on Freemasonry may already know the importance of the twin pillars Jachim and Boaz as they are very often seen in Masonic artwork. The occult meaning of the twin Masonic pillars is deep-rooted and stretches back a very long time. This is why they are present in a lot of Masonic symbolism. However, there are many interpretations of the two columns, especially in religion where they have their own meanings.
The pillars shown in the video do not represent the Masonic pillars, but instead ordinary pillars from Greek architecture – otherwise we’d just see two pillars at the front. As we can see in the video, there appears to be a countless number of rows of these pillars connected to a frontal structure. Below is the original concept of the music video:
To my knowledge, Masonic pillars are always located at the front, like an entranceway and not behind other architecture.
These pillars are known as Ionic pillars, or columns. Public institutions chose to reproduce Ionic columns if they wanted to convey an image of being very learned and civilized, therefore it is more common to find them on places such as museums and libraries. Kanye is standing at the entrance of a sanctuary, presumably his own.
Some people believe certain elements in the video were purposely composed to form the Masonic Square and Compass symbol as shown here:
When there is already a lot of symmetry, you’re very likely to find a way to incorporate certain symbols or other images into it. Visually, the entire video pays homage to Michelangelo’s ceiling painting in the Sistine Chapel, which explains why it shares the same symmetry throughout the video. To add to that, the Masonic Compass isn’t perfectly formed either, therefore I believe it is unintentional and insignificant.
As the camera zooms out, the next thing we are immediately drawn to is the gigantic chain he is wearing, which is the head of Horus. Horus is one of the oldest and most significant deities in the ancient Egyptian religion, who was worshipped from at least the late Predynastic period through to Greco-Roman times. Horus served many functions in the Egyptian pantheon, most notably being the god of the Sky, god of War and god of Protection. The ancient Egyptian deity, Horus, is often represented by a symbol of the eye. Those of us who are well-informed on the Illuminati may already know the significance of Horus to them. The All-Seeing Eye, also known as the Eye of Providence, found on the Great Seal of the United States and many other occult symbols in fact originates from the Eye of Horus.
So why is Kanye wearing a chain with Horus’ head? Well for one, Kanye is showing himself to be a pharaoh. The kings of Egypt associated themselves with Horus, particularly because the pharaoh was supposed to be his earthly embodiment. Kings would eventually take the name of Horus as one of their own.
One can say, “Kanye is wearing a Horus chain because of his interest in ancient Egyptian history”. This is partially true because Kanye has stated his interest in the past.
However, Kanye is also wearing a ring with two large pyramids on his fingers. I believe this video is a metaphorical representation of his life. It is showing how by letting him become an influential figure in the music industry, he has been given power by the higher-ups (who worship Horus) as represented by the Horus chain. Was he chosen to become one of them? Maybe the lyrics will help you decide, “In this white man’s world, we the ones chosen”.
Becoming a mainstream artist is impossible, if not, very difficult unless the higher-ups within the industry allow you to, but even then you have to do some strange things to get the fame and fortune you want. If you don’t know much about the music industry and its link to the Illuminati, I suggest you watch my series, “The Music Industry Exposed“.
Why is Kanye wearing a watch when the whole video is based around ancient times, when clearly it would not have been invented? It’s very odd and is something that sticks out in the video. Music videos are controlled in a strict environment, so this was no mistake. How did the camera operators and people on the set not spot his watch? If his clothes are different and he is wearing a chain, how can he possibly forget to take his watch off? The answer is, he didn’t. This was intentional. He is wearing the watch because it is the only object telling us that this video is an ancient representation of his modern life today.
Aquarius Water Bearers
In the video, we see two women suspended in mid-air, hanging upside down pouring water on themselves. They appear to be symbolising the Age of Aquarius. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, artist/director Marco Brambilla said, “I think it shows the end of an era and maybe the end of an era of celebrity”.
Aquarius is sometimes identified with Ganymede, a beautiful youth in Greek mythology with whom Zeus fell in love and, in the disguise of an eagle (represented by the constellation Aquila) carried off to Olympus to be cup-bearer to the gods. Aquarius has also been identified as the pourer of the waters that flooded the Earth in the ancient Greek version of the Great Flood myth. As such, the constellation Eridanus the river is sometimes identified as a river being poured by Aquarius. – Wikipedia
As the camera zooms out, two horned women are revealed each holding a staff, periodically banging it on the ground. I am not fully certain as to why they have horns, but to me it simply symbolises a sign of power and leadership for Kanye as they appear to be guarding over him and his wealth and fame. Some believe the guards represent Isis and Hathor. I personally don’t agree with this because to me it doesn’t make full sense, nor does it fit in with the rest of the symbolism. If they are meant to represent Isis and Hathor, then why do the women holding cups with grapes also have the same horns? To me, the horned women represent evil guards. Thinking about it, who is it that protects and guards the fame of celebrities?
As mentioned earlier, I have a good reason to believe Kanye wants to be seen as King Tutankhamun, an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty. Below Kanye sits a woman on a chair. The chair is actually a replica of King Tut’s throne, which was one of the special artefacts found in his tomb discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter. King Tut’s throne was made of wood, covered in gold leaf. In the video there is a type of angel sitting on the throne, which is a cherub.
In an exclusive interview with Marco Brambilla by website Co.Design, some of the behind the scenes work is explained including a little on the technology side of things. In the interview, he mentions that, “Each character was layered in digitally, replacing the cherubs and angels of the original”.
The entry for ‘Cherubs’ on Wikipedia states:
Cherubs are said to have four wings. Two of the wings extended upward, meeting above and sustaining the throne of God; while the other two stretched downward and covered the creatures themselves.
Early Semitic tradition conceived the cherubim as guardians, being devoid of human feelings, and holding a duty both to represent the gods and to guard sanctuaries from intruders. – Wikipedia
The cherub sitting below Kanye and the horned guards are protecting him and his sanctuary.
So why do I have a good reason to believe Kanye is trying to show himself as King Tut?
“King Tutankhamun was one of the few kings worshipped as a god and honoured with a cult-like following in his own lifetime”. – Wikipedia
We all know how much influence celebrities have over their fans, and we all know Kanye has a huge fanbase and following not only because of his music, but also fashion amongst other things. Kanye, on Twitter, retweeted a tweet by TheRealNeeb which reads, “What would King Tut say….“. Kanye also visited the golden coffin of King Tut’s great-grandmother Tjuya at the “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs” exhibition at the Discovery Times Square Exposition in New York City.
Sword of Damocles
The sword above Kanye is a reference to the Sword of Damocles. The Sword of Damocles, from Greek legend, illustrates the ever-present dangers of being in a position of power. The story of Damocles is relatively short so many people are familiar with it.
The Damocles of the anecdote was an obsequious courtier in the court of Dionysius II of Syracuse, a fourth century BC tyrant of Syracuse. Damocles exclaimed that, as a great man of power and authority, Dionysius was truly fortunate. Dionysius offered to switch places with him for a day, so he could taste first hand that fortune. In the evening a banquet was held where Damocles very much enjoyed being waited upon like a king. Only at the end of the meal did he look up and notice a sharpened sword hanging directly above his head by a single horse-hair. Immediately, he lost all taste for the fine foods and beautiful girls and asked leave of the tyrant, saying he no longer wanted to be so fortunate.
Dionysius had successfully conveyed a sense of the constant fear in which the great man lives. Cicero uses this story as the last in a series of contrasting examples for reaching the conclusion he had been moving towards in this fifth Disputation, in which the theme is that virtue is sufficient for living a happy life.
Cicero asks, “Does not Dionysius seem to have made it sufficiently clear that there can be nothing happy for the person over whom some fear always looms?” – Wikipedia
The story of the sword is a perfect example showing the constant danger faced by those in positions of power. We see Kanye standing there, then quickly after we see an assassin hanging upside down behind him ready to stab him with a dagger. He does not get assassinated with the dagger, but instead we see two other assassins brandishing swords, leaping from the sides in attempt to behead him. The video cuts off before their act is shown.
It seems the message he is trying to convey is very similar to that of Damocles’. Kanye is a wealthy, well-respected figure who has much power and fame and can have anything he desires, but he has realised that he can’t enjoy life because there’s always a constant threat of danger, which in his case is oppression, loss of freedom from the higher-ups or even death.
The Wall Street Journal spoke with artist/director Marco Brambilla about his historical inspirations, working with Kanye and what the video really means. I have highlighted the parts of the interview which are most interesting.
The Wall Street Journal: There are a lot of allusions and historical references in the “Power” video that you directed. Where did you draw your inspiration and what does it all mean?
Marco Brambilla: I think the visual inspiration for me was definitely the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel; they are kind of bombastic and iconic. Then the tonal reference was really “How do you visualize a symbol of power that’s almost timeless?” This video is almost like a portrait, a video portrait of Kanye as this symbol of power. The video is actually one continuous shot – it comes out from a close up of Kanye and gradually reveals this decadence and sexuality around him. Once we come to the wide shot, we challenge that position of power.
The narrative within it is a moment of transition. It’s almost like the precarious nature of power, the epic portrait of power. In one sense it’s both the rise and fall of a celebrity in a way and that’s one of the things that interested me about working with Kanye. I wanted to use some of his baggage in terms of the year he’s had coming into this and releasing his first single in a long time. I wanted to use the kind of public perception of him and have fun with that and the concept of him being a celebrity and what he’s gone through recently.
The Wall Street Journal: This video is short but powerful. What do you predict the interpretation of the public will be? How do you think it will be seen?
Marco Brambilla: I think it shows the end of an era and maybe the end of an era of celebrity. Maybe end of era for figure of power, maybe it’s a moment of transition for society in general. It has all these kind of ambiguous messages, but it’s something that you can visually experience. It has so much imagery within it hopefully people will react to it on a purely visceral level. But also what I would hope is that they see the kind of subversive qualities of it where it poses these questions about power, celebrity, sexuality decadence that kind of thing.
Here is another interesting article regarding the video, posted on The New York Times website:
In a telephone interview, Mr. Brambilla explained that he was drawn to the project because, he said, “It’s kind of apocalyptic, in a very personal way.”
Speaking of Mr. West’s track “Power,” which includes refrains like “No one man should have all that power” and “This would be a beautiful death,” Mr. Brambilla said: “It had this very dark, personal conflict within it. Because of his own concept of celebrity and his own notoriety, he’s keenly self-aware of all these things. And it all came out in the music.”
Mr. Brambilla said the project — which he preferred to describe as a “Video work that’s been commissioned by Kanye to accompany the music” rather than a music video — was his and Mr. West’s attempt to answer the question, “How do you visually paint a portrait of power?”
“It’s a moment of transition for him,” Mr. Brambilla said. “It’s like the end of an empire. It’s him becoming mortal again.”
The video is planned to be posted on Mr. West’s Web site sometime next week, Mr. Brambilla said, and will be provided to MTV and other music channels (though its content will probably make it difficult for some of the channels to show it).
Mr. Brambilla said he hoped viewers of his “Power” video would see the humor in it.
“It’s a very exaggerated, hyper-sensational version of what the song is saying,” he said.
“But at the same time,” he added, “it has this fallibility to it. Because built into the story is that there is an ultimate fallibility, in bringing someone back down to earth at the end of the piece. That kind of contradiction, hopefully, will create the tension within it.”
COOLHUNTING also interviewed Marco Brambilla, and it was quite interesting what he had to say in response:
COOLHUNTING: Is it strange that a celebrity would depict their fall from power?
Marco Brambilla: I think he’s a true artist—he doesn’t react to what people think of him. He’s aware, but he’s not the type of person who’s going to react to things in a way that is better for marketing. He wants to push the limits. I think using part of his public image as part of the way of illustrating his new album will resonate.
From the interview above, it is very clear that Kanye is depicting his own fall from power. The real message of this video is telling us that measures are already being taken by the higher-ups to slowly ruin his image. The whole process is very gradual and goes on almost unnoticed, but at the same time it’s the very same people who are keeping artists such as Katy Perry and Lady Gaga on our airwaves.
But what did Kanye do to annoy the higher-ups? Is he going through the same phase as Eminem? It seems Kanye has angered his handlers by going against their word. Here is just one example. In the song named “Jesus Walks” by Kanye, he says:
God show me the way because the Devil trying to break me down
The only thing that that I pray is that my feet don’t fail me now
And I don’t think there is nothing I can do now to right my wrongs
I want to talk to God but I’m afraid because we ain’t spoke in so long
They say you can rap about anything except for Jesus
That means guns, sex, lies, video tapes
But if I talk about God my record won’t get played, Huh?
Who are they? And why won’t his record get played if he raps about God? It is also interesting to note that Eminem, in one of his songs named, “Talkin’ 2 Myself” from the Recovery album, tells Kanye and a few other artists to keep their head up:
My life is no longer a movie, but the show ain’t over homos
I’m back with a vengeance homie, Weezy keep ya’ head up
T.I. keep ya’ head up, Kanye keep ya’ head up
Don’t let up, just keep slaying ‘em
Rest in peace to DJ AM, cause I know what it’s like
I struggle with this shit every single day and um…
Eminem mentions artists who are also going through a bad time, and tells them not to give up and keep slaying ‘them’. He then goes onto say, “Cause I know what it’s like, I struggle with this shit every single day”. It is clear Eminem is telling them to keep fighting back.
The cover art for the “Power” single displays a crown-wearing head, presumably Kanye’s, which rests bloodied with a sword pierced through the side. To me, this artwork is symbolic in foretelling how Kanye’s loss of power and fame is a result of rebelling against his handlers.
So, to summarise the video I believe it is safe to say Kanye is presented as a powerful king, much like King Tut, living a luxurious life shown by the various women around him in their different roles. From personal guards, a guardian angel and women idling around him eating grapes, the video initially gives us the impression of power and fame equalling an easy, care-free life. As the video progresses on and the camera zooms out, we can quite literally see the full picture. The other side of power and its drawbacks are revealed, such as the ever constant perils, represented by the assassins and the Sword of Damocles. This video is visually representing what Kanye is currently going through in his life and is foretelling parts of it yet to come. After the camera zooms onto certain characters in the video, it once again fully zooms back out showing all the women and luxuries have disappeared, only to be left with the assassins. This clearly shows Kanye’s vulnerability having had everything taken away from him, thus making him powerless. The video as a whole essentially tells us that being powerful and wealthy brings danger along with it and the risk of losing it all makes someone vulnerable and mortal like everyone else.